Hot Dog Charlie’s

Review by: ayersian

Discovered on a Roadfood gathering in Albany, Hot Dog Charlie’s is one of a handful of stands in the area (including Famous Lunch and Gus’s) that feature mini dogs slathered with Greek-style chili sauce. Founder Strates Fentekes opened New Way Lunch in 1922 and sold these mini dogs, often stacked up his arm for dressing (just like Rhode Island’s New York System), for a nickel apiece. Customers began calling him “Charlie,” and the place expanded and was renamed Hot Dog Charlie’s. Now with four locations in Cohoes, Rensselaer, Clifton Park, and Troy, the place still cranks out platefuls of inexpensive dogs. Jars of their famous chili sauce are lined up on the counter to take home, and their website offers shipping around the country to sauce-starved customers.

These diminutive beauties — a snappy little frank measuring three inches in natural casing — are grilled, snuggled into custom-baked buns, and dressed with yellow mustard, chopped onions, and a thin but meaty chili. Three or four mini dogs easily make a meal, and some folks take out bags of twenty or thirty at a time. In keeping with the upstate New York tradition of meatless offerings on Friday, the fish fry is available every day: a curly fried strip of cod, liberally doused with tartar sauce and served in a regular-sized hot dog bun. In addition to a few mini dogs, one must leave room for at least one of their exceptional cheeseburgers. The beef is ground fresh daily by a local butcher, and the hand-formed patties are cooked on the griddle until they form a slight crust, to which cheese is then added. Topped with mustard, ketchup, and tender grilled onions inside a soft bun, this first-rate burger proves that Hot Dog Charlie’s is certainly not a one-trick (hot dog?) pony.

Directions & Hours

10:30am - 8pm
  • Monday: 10:30 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:30 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:30 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:30 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:30 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:30 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM

What To Eat

Mini Dog


Fish Fry

Chili Sauce


Hot Dog Charlie’s Recipes


What do you think of Hot Dog Charlie’s?

Nearby Restaurants

Gus’s Hot Dogs

Watervliet, NY

Famous Lunch

Troy, NY

Blue Benn Diner

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BenGable Savories

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Blue Plate

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